So the Christmas Tree Project got started back about 6 or 7 years ago. I was down in Naperville visiting my brother and his family and they were involved in a big church that was doing a Christmas service project like this. And I came home and I said, “Jim, we can do this in DeForest. We could really do this.” That was the summer that we sort of said okay, we’re going to hit every yard sale that we can go to. We’re going to look for ornaments, we’re going to look for stars, or angels, or look for Christmas decorations type things and just start accumulating.
When we get ready for the day of delivery after everything has been organized in bags and the trees are all lined up, he carried all the heavy lifting things, I walked up to the door with the little candy canes and handed them to the kids, and it was just such a joy to be able to do it. And it’s just super fun.
The smiles on their faces is what really does it for me. I teach first grade in Madison, so I love children. That’s my mission, that’s my purpose. God totally had me designed to be a teacher. I’d always been generous with my students and my families. I would buy things for my classroom. I would buy things for my families each year. But then I think it grew exponentially when I met Jim. And then it just blew up big and it really made me realize this is really what God wants me to do. And so now we’re working together to have more impact in our community if we can. And then when I finally came to Door Creek and started hearing the same messages again I was just thankful, really thankful that I had found my place in a church where I would be able to continue to serve and draw closer to Christ.
So we’re so excited to see where it’s going to go next. We don’t know where God’s going to take it. But we’re going to go with Him wherever it is that He wants us to go. And so it has just shown both of us that being a servant to Christ doesn’t turn on and off on any given date. It’s just something that you do on a constant basis because that’s what you want to do and that’s what Christ has shown you to do. The attitude of a servant, a servant's heart, is that you’re never at the end until you leave the face of this Earth. God always has something more for you to do. For me that just what makes me happy because that what I’m all about, trying to draw closer to Christ every day. It’s a mindset. It’s the way you think. It’s the way you respond to Christ and the needs that are all around you. And it’s being aware of what’s happening. And in our busy world today, there are so many things that pull us and drag us away from what’s really important, and so if I am able to every day be aware of what’s going on around me and what is Christ trying to show me, what does he want me to do, where does He want me to go, what does he want me to say. It’s a mindset that I’m so thankful that He has showed me and I’m just so excited to keep moving forward and find out what does He want me to do next.
I feel this peace in my life that I had not had in the past because I know that Christ is like, within me helping me move along on my journey. So when I say that I feel that Christ or God is sitting right next to me, I really feel this wrapping of joy around my body whenever I’m involved with a service project, but lately it’s all the time. It’s all the time I can feel this strength within me that’s really not my own. It doesn’t come from me trying harder or trying to be better or trying to do more. I believe it’s the strength that comes from the Holy Spirit from Christ. And it’s always with me, so no matter what situations arise, stressful things at school, stressful things in my family, I just have this inner strength and I know that it’s not from me - it’s from Jesus Christ and He’s giving me what I need every single day.
This story, and all of our stories, are from people who call Door Creek Church their home. As you contemplate this story, may your faith be encouraged and your hope renewed. If you’d like to learn more about sharing your story, start here.